Ultra Vires


U of T Q&A

Susan Wang at the Harvard Law School
Susan Wang at the Harvard Law School

Susan Wang was accepted to UT Law and created the University of Toronto Law Class of 2014, but then decided to go to Harvard Law. She remains a group admin. We found out more.

So, I was able to find you on Facebook because you’re still a member of our Facebook group? Why exactly?

It’s fun to peek in occasionally and see what’s going on north of the border. There are also some cool people from Welcome Day and elsewhere with whom I still keep in contact. I guess I still feel connected to U of T Law and would be a little sad to be cut off completely.     

Does Harvard 2014 have as good a Facebook group as us? Did you start it?

Harvard 2014 has a pretty good Facebook group (that I didn’t start). It’s fairly similar to the U of T one and deals mostly with practical things such as apartments, textbooks, events, etc. Our 80-person section Facebook group, on the other hand, is more tight-knit. There is a chief meme-maker, a resident comic artist who chronicles our mad adventures, a handyman who installs/fixes/applies redneck solutions to everything from car troubles to faulty showerheads and a hunter/gatherer who informs us of the more ephemeral food sightings on campus, among others. It gets pretty hilarious, but I might be biased since yes, I did start it.

Why did you pick Harvard over U of T?

U of T was really appealing to me, and I had actually been set on going there for a long time. In the end though, going to school in Toronto felt a bit comfortable. I had lived in Kingston and Ottawa. I had friends in Toronto, knew the city, and could imagine my life there. I decided it was time to explore a little beyond what I knew.

What do people at Harvard think of us? Do they think of us at all?

Unfortunately, Americans don’t know very much about Canada besides the token images of Mounties and polar bears.

Do you have a coffee shop in your building? How expensive is the coffee?

Ahh, the all-important coffee question. There is free coffee (as well as tea, hot chocolate etc.) in the mornings. After 9pm, there is also a coffee room in the library that serves free specialty coffees in a variety of flavors such as vanilla and hazelnut. Otherwise, the cafeteria serves Starbucks coffee at Starbucks prices and Peet’s Coffee at about $2 for a large. That being said, I am not much of a coffee drinker myself, so there might be more options I do not know about.

Hook ups among classmates, is it love or mainly lust at Harvard law?

It’s a law school. Has there ever been even a semi-reputable law school without a more than healthy dose of both?

On the scale of awkward work baby shower to Queen’s Homecoming, how fun are the pub nights?

Probably just shy of Queen’s Homecoming. It’s a little (well, a lot) tamer, but on the plus side, there are usually free drink tickets. Also, I count it as a plus that no one has set a car on fire yet. A new pub did just open in the law building last year though, so maybe the increased access to alcohol might make this statement premature.

Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama were Harvard Alumni, which way does the school tend to lean politically?

I think the political spectrum is much broader than I experienced in Canada. Just to provide a small sample, a couple of friends worked on the Obama campaign before law school and a lot of people are currently working on the Elizabeth Warren campaign for Senate. There’s also a strong Federalist Society, and one of my roommates is working on Mitt Romney’s campaign. Another roommate is focused on abolishing the death sentence, and several people in my section want to work for the American Civil Liberties Union upon graduation. People are all over the place and are very tolerant of starkly different politics. If I had to guess, I’d say that as a whole, HLS leans more liberal.

What do you miss the most about Canada?

Poutine, beaver tails, and Timmies. I also miss a certain carefree feeling that comes from canoeing to school in Ottawa or sharing a campfire with backpackers on Wolfe Island.

Best part about Harvard

The feeling that the whole world is open and full of possibilities. That if I am passionate about something and willing to work for it, there are many people who will do everything they can to help me succeed. Being constantly surprised by the accomplishments of even my closest friends, and the opportunities to collaborate with students in other faculties/MIT. This year has been absolutely amazing in so many respects, but it mainly comes down to the people I have met.

Worst part about Harvard

The dorm complex that can’t be torn down because Walter Gropius built it in the 40s. I don’t consider it his best work.

Canadian Legal Celebrity Crush:

Sorry guys, I don’t know how serious everyone gets up there, but my celebrity crushes run more along the lines of Ryan Gosling.

American Legal Celebrity Crush:

See above. Although, I have to admit, Scalia’s dissents are always fun to read if only because they are so deliciously scathing.

Coolest guest speaker you’ve seen:

For me, it would be Justice Elena Kagan, who was our former Dean before being appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Around here, Justice Kagan is known as the “Coffee Dean” because she was the one who introduced free coffee on campus. She led a reading group and comes back for a couple of events each year. Actually, she’s here for an informal Q & A the afternoon I am writing this.

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